Falcon Motorcycles

Last May 2008 we met Ian and Amaryllis in Half Moon Bay during the Legend of the Motorcycles show where they won the " Best of Custom" award.

Dont forget to look at the gallery at the end of this Post

Interview with Ian Barry and Amaryllis Knight of Falcon Motorcycles.

Hi Ian and Amaryllis. First of all, congratulations on your “Best Custom Motorcycle” award at the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours in Half Moon Bay.

IB: Thank you. It was fun and rewarding to be recognized in this way for all the hard work I've put into building bikes. It was an honor to be part of such an historic event and to be surrounded with so many pieces of motorcycle history, and it was really a humbling experience to win the custom award amongst so many talented builders and amazing bikes. Having an award called "Best Custom Motorcycle" couldn't exist in the first place without them and their lifelong dedication to motorcycles.

AK: It was really exciting for us. Brooke and Jared who founded the Concours have done an amazing thing for the motorcycle industry and community at large, they've given us an opportunity where motorcycles and the history of motorcycles can be celebrated and respected on a concours level and in such a surreally beautiful setting too. We were honored and amazed to be a part of it.

Where are you from ?

IB: Born in Santa Cruz, California, but I've been an LA resident for the last 7 years.

AK: I was born in London, and I've lived in LA for 13 years, it's home now.

When did you start into the motorcycle business ?

IB: I've always been into building motorcycles and have sold many of my custom builds in the past decade. It only officially became a "business" when I met Amaryllis and we decided to form Falcon Motorcycles about a year ago. It was a natural progression to take the bikes that I'd building in backyard tents and in rented garage space, to a new level. Over the years I'd been honing my ideas, and it finally made sense to start doing it legit style, to form a company or "face" for my bikes that is timeless and symbolizes everything my motorcycles are about.

AK: I've had a thing for old cars, aeroplanes and motorcycles since I was a kid. I've restored vintage muscle cars, learned to fly aeroplanes, and I have a 1942 Norton that was in the Indian military until I brought it over to LA to skoot around on, but it wasn't until I met Ian that I went into the motorcycle business and was able to realize the dream fully.

Where in L.A is your shop ?

IB: In Dowtown Los Angeles.

AK: We love it there, it's peaceful, and filled with interesting people and hidden nooks and crannies. We'll be moving soon though, we're looking for a bigger spot, maybe somewhere in the foothills of San Gabriel, or further into Echo Park.

What do you think of the motorcycle scene in California ?

IB: It's kind of like the whole of Los Angeles, in that it's what you make of it. There is every type of biker and bike scene from the Neptune's Net weekend warrior, to the real deal daily riders that only travel on two wheels. There are crotch rocket clubs, Mongols, the Hells Angels, British bikers, Hipsters, Japanese Cafe bike revivalists, and touring bike freaks in full body armor that think nothing of driving up and down california, or across the country for that matter, on a whim. I don't really belong to any scene except for a small group of my bike building peers... A bunch of no-bullshit guys that live and breath motorcycles. It's an exiting time in the bike building scene because we are all getting our dues now, and the resources to make some really cool bikes as a result. It's a good time because we all avoid internal beef or drama out here, I cant wait to see some of the bikes that get turned out of the California shops in the next year, like from Powerplant, Four Aces, and Scott Craig's shop, to name a few good ones.

AK: It's great having talented people near by... creates just the kind of healthy competition one wants, where everyone inspires each other to refine their own work even further.

What’s the main inspiration of your work ?

IB: Working with metal, the alchemical process.. transforming something into something else. Design, English Motorcycles.

AK: I'm working on falcon full time now but I'm also an apprentice midwife and a doula by trade, so for me the inspiration kind of crosses over ... it's kinda like a birth watching Ian's ideas and imagination take form out of lumps of metal and turn into a machine that can be ridden away.. and it's great fun to take my hospital scrubs off, get my hands covered in grease and aid him in the 'delivery' of his bike so to speak! It makes for happy and unexpected balance in my life, and for me, thats ultimate inspiration.

Why English bikes ?

IB: British bikes are works of art. The neglected and or forgotten ones are the impetus, for me feeling possessed to strip something down to it's basic elements and then make it from the beginning again in a completely new way. They are the only bikes that really challenge me. Improving the design of these amazing machines while paying tribute to their past is a difficult balance to maintain when we apply such a high level of customization to the build. Almost every piece is made from scratch and those that aren't are dramatically transformed. After paint, plating, coating, and assembly of all the shiny little pieces, the final picture is all that matters. It's so easy to make a british bike look terrible, to lose sight of the finished bike or force it into tasteless molds with over customization and over-proportions... Out of love for these bikes, I customize with vision and a complete design in honor of the metal they started out as. I think of them as what could have been concept bikes in their time, or a one off custom that could have rolled out of the factory in the same era as the numbers stamped on the engine case.

AK: I might be a little biased being British myself, I think they're the perfect mix of classy, understated and badass. But also, British bikes because people have been focusing for so long on Harley's and the British bikes haven't really been given their dues yet. And Ian's been doing them for almost a decade now and it's so fun to be able to take part in and support the progression of his work, it's amazing and I love it.

Why is the Bullet Falcon different from the rest of your work ?

IB: It is the first Falcon Motorcycle. There was more time and energy put into this build than any other bike I have ever built or dreamed up. I had complete freedom to explore every possible detail down to the hand machined bolts, being able to spend three days making a bracket or fastener that no-one other than Amaryllis, the rider and I will even know is there unless they looked really hard for a long time, even making the same piece two or three times to get it right, not compromising on anything, even the invisible details. I think I actually made three sets of those exhaust flanges out of a solid piece of brass each time to experiment with the balance of proportion, strength and functionality just right. The guy I built the bike for truly let me go all out on my vision. We interviewed each-other in a way and it made all of the difference. He knew what he wanted and I knew what I wanted to build.. so out of that trust, Amaryllis and I starting our company from the ground up, and over 1000 hours of collective work, the first official Falcon was born.

AK: All Ian's bikes are tough, original and restrained, this one's no different in that way. He'd built a few Triumphs while he rented space at Power Plant Choppers a few years ago, and he built all his other bikes out of back yards with borrowed tools, so that's been the real difference... seeing Ian being to turn his ideas and imagination into parts and pieces and watch him build a motorcycle with the equipment and tools that he needs at his fingertips for the first time, it's been really exciting. The Bullet Falcon is the beginning, that's what really makes it different.

1 What is your favorite word?

IB: Integrity.

AK: Pumpkin.

2 What is your least favorite word?

IB: Speculum.

AK: Vicious.

3 What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

IB: The theremin.
(The Theremin is a musical instrument, and played without touching it! invented by Rus Leon Theremin in 1919. first mostly used for filmmusic, but you can also hear them in popsongs. for example, bands in the 60's/70's like Led Zeppelin)

AK: Fossils, Insects, music and reality.

4 What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

IB: Monotony, stagnation, repetition.

AK: Narcissism.

5 What sound or noise do you love?

IB: Silence.

AK: Low pitched wolf-growls.

6 What sound or noise do you hate?

IB: Silence.

AK: Machine guns.

7 What is your favorite curse word?

IB: Hasselhoff.

AK: Pants.

8 What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

IB: Freestyle Consultant.

AK: I'd be David Attenborough. But in a skirt.

9 What profession would you not like to do?

IB: Meter Maid.

AK: Prison Guard.

10 If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

IB: God only knows

AK: He'd wink.

there's an exclusive Gallery for you readers...

southsiders babe November 2008